A phone scam called number spoofing (or “spoofing”) has been increasingly on the rise nationwide, leading to significant consequences for victims who are tricked into giving out confidential information.
What is spoofing?
“Spoofing” occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your phone’s caller ID display to disguise their identity by using technology to clone the actual telephone number of the organization or person they want to impersonate, such as local businesses or your bank. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. Scammers may pretend to be representatives of banks, creditors, insurance companies, police officers, the IRS or other government agencies to gain your personal information and often use automated software to conduct the spoofed calls. U.S. law and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prohibit most types of spoofing.
What to do if you think you are being spoofed:
- Remember, you cannot rely on caller ID to verify who is calling you.
- Never give out or confirm personal information such as account numbers, Social Security Numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information if you did not initiate the call, even if the phone number on your caller ID is from your bank, credit card company or another trusted organization.
- If you receive a call from someone who says they represent a company or government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement or the company’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- Block the spoofed number – you will still be able to receive phone calls from the genuine company or organization if the spoofed number is blocked.
- Immediately report the incident to the FCC. If confidential information was provided to the scammer, immediately call your bank or your financial services companies.
Cape Cod Five will never contact you via phone, email or text requesting information such as account number, password, Social Security Number or other confidential information.
Tips to know:
- If you receive a phone call from an unknown number, feel free to ignore it. If the caller leaves a message that says they are representing a company or government agency, call the number you have on file instead of the number that appeared on your caller ID.
- If you have a voicemail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password to prevent a hacker from spoofing your phone number to gain access to your voicemail.
Federal Communications Commission, Spoofing and Caller ID, https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/spoofing-and-caller-id
Identity Theft Resource Center, Phone Scams, https://www.idtheftcenter.org/Scams/phone-scams-are-on-the-rise.html
Federal Trade Commission, Scammers can fake caller ID info, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2016/05/scammers-can-fake-caller-id-info